So supposedly Bibi won the 2015 Israeli elections by denouncing the formation of a Palestinian state, and grabbing desperate votes from the far-right Israeli parties. Supposedly Likud has transformed itself from a center-right party to a far-right party, and as a result, the democratic principles upon which Israel is based have now been demolished, to the shock and awe of people everywhere.
Right. If all it took to instigate major political change in a country were one lousy media interview, one would assume that Qatar would now be a human-rights-promoting ally in the Global War on Terror, as a result of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani’s latest remarks to CNN.
First, let’s review what Bibi said. When asked whether it was true that a Palestinian state would never be formed under his premiership, Bibi simply responded that anyone who would establish a Palestinian state by evacuating territories today would give a base for terrorist attacks against Israel. Instead of interpreting this statement in the most radical way possible, perhaps one should take a second and read it again. Isn’t it more likely that, rather than making a statement that would abandon all hopes for a peaceful future for Israelis and their neighbors, Bibi simply confirmed that within the next four years of his tenure, it appears improbable that a Palestinian state would be negotiated? What is so shocking about that statement? Israel has been pounded with rockets over the past year, with some attacks resembling those of the Second Intifada. Obviously, it doesn’t want to experience a repetition of the consequences following Israel’s retreat from Gaza in 2005.
Second, two words: political opportunism. Everyone who has heard of this concept realizes that unexpected assurances issued at the final stages of an intense political campaign are to be taken with a grain of salt. So maybe Bibi did try to make himself more appealing to his conservative voters. In any event, it is improbable that this statement will have the far-reaching consequences many commenters seem to think. Nobody in their right mind could actually believe that the State of Israel has abolished all future plans for a sustainable two-state solution. It simply doesn’t make any sense.
How about contemplating the idea that Bibi won for other reasons? Maybe Israeli conservatives were impressed by Bibi’s chutzpah for speaking to Congress without Obama’s approval? Maybe they thought that he was spot on when he described the threat of Iran, and felt that he would be able to adequately address that threat? All the hypocrites accusing Bibi of fear mongering need to stop fear mongering in regards to this over-hyped statement. Of course Bibi wants a two-state solution. But unlike the manner in which his US counterparts are treating Iran, he probably just wants to see his enemies fully undressed before he jumps into bed with them.